HOW TO: Fit in at the Gym

(Paul Revere voice)

“The Resolutioners are coming, the Resolutioners are coming!”

Yes folks, ’tis the season of not being able to find parking at the gym, and your usual routine being interrupted by someone you’ve never seen before using your machine.  Happy January!

As both a gym employee and gym goer, I have enjoyed seeing both sides of January.  The annoyed but trying-to-be-patient face of the gym-regular AND the newbie with eyes as big and round as dinner plates (Mmm, dinner) as they try to figure out how to adjust the weights on the machine that said gym regular is waiting to use.

 Everyone was a newbie once, so I am definitely not knocking anyone trying to better themselves (I am trying to do the same right now,  but more on that at another time).  I’m just saying, it can be a rough time of year for all involved when it comes to gym.

Which is why I thought I’d help out some of the newbies by sharing a few tips from the inside.  As an employee, I see everything and hear everything, so I thought I’d share my knowledge that I’ve picked up over the years.

Exercise tips

1. Grunt.  It makes you look like you’re working really hard and is super impressive sounding.  If people stare at you, don’t worry.  It just means you’re doing it right.

2. Slam around weights.  Again, it’s all about being seen and heard at the gym.  The louder, the better. Assert your dominance and show them that you belong by illustrating your comfort with the equipment.

3. If you see someone’s water bottle or towel hanging off a machine, just assume they forgot it there and the machine is free.  Go ahead and use it, it’s fine.  And if someone comes back and gives you the  stink eye while you’re working out, it’s probably just because they’re jealous of how fit you are.

4. Make sure to leave your sweat stains on the equipment.  It shows how hard you worked and will motivate the person after you to work harder.  Cleaning it off when you’re done may seem like the responsible and clean thing to do, but it’s really just the opposite.

5.  Make sure you go out and buy special clothes just for the gym.  T-shirts and comfortable, stretchable pants/shorts just won’t cut it.  And the more expensive, the better.  And gentlemen, the cotton shorts are your best option.  You know, those ones that are super thin and basically just look like giant boxer shorts?  Those are perfect.  Gotta make sure you let your boys breath, ya know what I’m saying?  It’s just healthy.

6.  If you use chalk when you lift, make sure to sprinkle it all over the floor and leave some still on the bars when you’re done.  The person after you will be so grateful that you left some for them to use too, even if they don’t use chalk.  You’re so thoughtful!

7.  It’s totally okay to give someone unsolicited advice.  If they’re doing an exercise you’ve never seen before, then they probably are wrong and would love to have your help.  After all, there is only one way to do things when it comes to exercising.

8.  Pre-workout and protein are non-negotiable.  Get a GNC Gold Card and make sure everyone sees it.  Also, like #7, if someone is drinking a brand of protein that you don’t like, make sure to let them know.  They probably had no idea how bad it was and will appreciate your advice.

9.  Don’t worry about reracking your weights or picking up your equipment.  That’s what the gym employees are for, and it just gives everyone a little extra cardio when they have to walk around and look for the equipment they need.  So, really, you’re just doing everyone else around you a service by leaving the place in shambles.  Good job, you.

10.  Gym hours are just a suggestion.  If it’s closing, but you still have a few sets left to go and still wanted to shower, that’s totally fine.  The staff will totally wait, it’s not a big deal.

And finally, the most important rule:

11. It isn’t supposed to be fun.  You’re here to work, so act like it.  Smiling, laughing, or enjoying yourself of any kind shows weakness.  Just keep your head down, finish your workout, and then go post about it on Facebook.  Exercise is serious business.

So there you have it.  Follow all of my tips and you’ll be a gym expert in no time.  Happy January!

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